crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 86, no. 2219: September 24, 1910

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_046_00000519

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
September 24, 1910, RECORD AKD GUIDE 481 ^ SSTABUSHED-^ (^«lf^H 2li> 1868. "i^^REflEyTAjt.BuiLDIjfc AflcKlTEeTi;R,E,KaUSG(01DDECCB{fn0K». Bi/snfcss Affi)Themes OF Gt;JERiil WiERfSI._; rRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications sbould ba addressed ^ C. W, SWEET Published Everg Saturdag By THE RECORD AND GTJIDE CO. PresWeat. CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, P. W, DODGE Vlce-Prea. & Genl. Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary. F. T. MILLBE NoH. 11 to 15 Bast a4tl( Street, New Yorl£ Cltr (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433,) "Entered at the Post Office at New York :, N. Y-. OS scco7td-eiass m tatter." Copyrighted. 1010, by The nccord & Guide Co. Vol. LXXXVl. SEPTEMBER 2 4, 1910, No, 2219. PROBABLY the most surprising result thus far announced by the Census Bureau has been the comparatively small increase in the population of Chicago. Its percentage of growth has been only a little over twenty per cent., and thus it takes its place among the class of cities which may he said to be exhibiting the normal rate of expansion—a rate that is varying between twenty and twenty-five per cent. Other large cities in the same class are St. Louis, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Why is it that New Yorli can maintain an extraordinarily larger rate of increase—amounting almost to forty per cent,, while Chicago is growing only a little over half as rapidly? The Borough of Manhattan, taken alone, added a larger per¬ centage to its population than did the city of Chicago, and the Borough of The Bronx, which has an actual population of only about one-fifth that of Chicago, is adding as many people every year to its inhabitants as is the middle west¬ ern metropolis. In the case of Chicago, moreover, the com¬ paratively small rate of increase cannot be explained hy the fact that any percentage of the people who contribute to its wealth actually live outside the city limits, because Chicago has always been very aggressive in annexing sur¬ rounding territory. Why is it, then, that the second largest city in the country, which hitherto has increased in population anywhere from 40 to 100 per cent, every ten years, has suddenly dropped to a little over 20 per cent.? And why is it that the largest city in the country has in¬ creased almost forty per cent.? Probably the difference will be explained by the -results of the business census; but in, general the explanation seems to be that the manufac¬ turing industries are inclined to seek the smaller rather than the larger cities. When the Steel Corporation, for instance, wished to construct the largest and most elficient steel manufacturing plant in the countiT, it avoided Chi¬ cago, and selected a site near Chicago, and on the same lake, but in Indiana. The increased price of livestock and dressed meat has probably prevented the Chicago stock yards from growing as fast as they have grown hitherto. The tendency of the big corporations is to locate their new factories in smaller places, the management of which they can more effectually control. Another interesting fact is that the automobile industry, the largest manufacturing creation of the last ten years, has almost entirely avoided Chicago. If such, in general, is the true explanation of the comparatively small growth of Chicago, it is au explanation frora which the country, as a whole will beneflt, A far more wholesome group of political and business conditions will follow from the up-buildiug of a number of smaller centres of industrial population than from that of a com¬ paratively few large ones. _^__---------4------_—— THE foregoing explanation of the comparatively small increase in the population of Chicago does not, how¬ ever, help one to account for the much larger increase of New York, Apparently the same conditions which account for Chicago's diminished rate of increase would have their application also to New York. This city has no doubt the largest manufacturing output of any city in the country, but there is no reason to suppose that it has gained much in that respect during the past ten years. Ko single New York indusfrv, such as automobiles in Detroit, or lake ship¬ ping in Cleveland, can be pointed out which has been par¬ ticularly prosperous. The proportioa of the foreign trade which enters and leaves the port of New York is diminish¬ ing rather than increasing. Railroad, freight rates dis¬ criminate against it rather than in its favor. Why, then, is it increasing in population almost forty per cent., while the majority of tbe other large American cities are increas¬ ing only a little over half that rate? The explanation, probably, is that the wealth of the country is increasing faster than its population, and that New York benefits more than any other single city from the general increase in wealth. New York is becoming more and more the great purchasing and selling market for the whole of the United States, and particularly for the well-to-do fraction of the American people. It deals, not in industrial products, like locomotives, steel beams, machinery and the like, which are sold to industrial firms and companies, but in finished prod¬ ucts like wearing apparel, luxuries of all kinds, and the like, which are sold either to the retailers or to the actual consumers, Wben the results of the business census are published it will probably he discovered that the branch of commerce which has been expanding most rapidly in New York has been mercantile trade of all kinds. It ia becoming more and more the great distributing centre for the whole of the country; and so far at least there is no reason to suppose that it will lose this distinction. It should maintain its usual rate of growth as long as the wealth of the country keeps on increasing faster than Its population. THIS explanation of New York's extraordinary rate ol growth is, so far as it is true, very interesting from the real estate point of view. Among the several remarkable movements which have taken place in New York during the past ten years, not the least remarkable has been the large increase characteristic of the past few years in the erection of mercantile buildings. The expansion of the wholesale trade has been so constant and so large that it looked as if it could not be wholesome. In the light of the foregoing considerations, the great increase in the num¬ ber of mercantile buildings may well be simply the visible evidence of New York's increasing pre-eminence as the dis- player and the distributor of merchandise for the. whole country—or for at least an ever larger part of the whole country, and if so, it may be expected that the demand for Manhattan rea! estate for the needs of the wholesale trade will become more rather than less urgent. No doubt the tendency will be to scatter manufacturing—even the mak¬ ing of clothes—among the other boroughs; but Manhat¬ tan will retain and increase for an Indeflnite number of years its mercantile business, and that mercantile business will occupy the whole of the central part of the borough from Third Avenue to tbe North River, and from Bleecker to Fifty-ninth Street. Of course, certain avenues and streets within this territory will be given over to the retail shops and places of amusement, but except in these favored locations the whole district will contain a vast collection of warehouses and exhibition rooms—supplemented by a certain number of lofts used for light manufacturing. Of course, land on the more accessible avenues, such as Fourth and Seventh avenues, which will be improved with mer¬ cantile buildings, is destined to be even more valuable than it is now. It should be remembered also, an increasing amount of hotel, amusement, retail and restaurant busi¬ ness is necessarily associated with the growth of New York as a mercantile centre. Purchasers who come to New York spend their money by night as well as by day, and it is the money which they are leaving and will leave behind them which will become probably the most abundant single source of the continued growth of the city. IT has long been evident that the New York & New Jer¬ sey Terminal Company would propose to connect its Cortlandt Street terminal with its Sixth Avenue line, but the route which its engineers have laid out is different from the. one which has been anticipated. It had been supposed that the Sixth Avenue line itself would have been extended south to Church and Cortland streets. Instead of that the company proposes to build down Broadway from Thirty- third street until it reaches Union Square, and then to con¬ tinue just west of Broadway to its destination. The pro¬ posal has much to recommend it, and doubtless something of the kind will eventually be built, but obviously the credit of the city should not be used for such a purpose until certain still more pressing subways are placed under con¬ tract. Whatever the advantages of the proposed new route